I believe in miracles. I do. I believe in angels and that God does, at times, reach down and touch our lives.
A couple weeks ago, I had the priviledge of going to a movie set--right here in our humble town of Layton. The movie's working title is 'The Cokeville Miracle', and it's based on a true story.
Now, I have to admit, I don't remember the incident that happened in Cokeville, Wyoming in 1986. (Probably because I was 19 and didn't pay much attention to the news back then.) But, as my day on the set went on, I learned the story and why it's going to make such a compelling movie.
One of the best things about the day was meeting some of the crew. They were kind and personable. Every person I talked to went out of their way to answer questions, and take selfies. They. Were. Awesome.
I met Bob Condor, 1st Assistant Director (AKA- Handsome Bob). When asked what was the best part of being involved in this movie, he couldn't pick just one thing. But, he did say that he was struck by the faith of the people and the amazing story. He told me, "I'm a firm believer that we are put where we are, when we are, for a reason." And, this story is evidence of that.
I also met the director, TC Christensen (17 Miracles, Ephraim's Rescue, and Forever Strong). I was a bit star-struck talking to him, but he put me at ease with his openness and his great personality. ("A picture? Of course. Here let's take our picture with the camera behind us.") He said when he first heard the story, he was surprised that no one else had made it into a movie and that he was honored to be the one to make it. He spoke of faith and the role it plays in our lives.
What left the greatest impression, though, was the hour I spent talking to Kamron Wixom, one of the survivors. I can't imagine going through such a traumatic event, especially as a child. And, even though a lot of time has passed, I was surprised by Kamron's candor and willingness to tell us about what happened.
|Kamron and childhood friend/actor Christopher Clark|
He told us about David and Doris Young who came to the school and took everyone inside hostage. They forced the children and adults into a first grade classroom, all 157 of them. At first, some of the kids thought it was an assembly. But,when they got into the classroom and saw the weapons, they realized it was something very different.
Kamron said that while the children were frightened, they didn't really have a grasp on the seriousness of the situation. How could they? This was 1986, a different world than we live in now, long before school shootings and other violence had become so frequent.
At 12, Kamron was the oldest of the children, a sixth grader. He remembers well what his friend, also 12, told him, "We haven't done anything wrong, so we are going to be okay." Kamron passed this message along to the other children. He said that after that, the mood in the room lightened. The kids played with legos and other toys, avoiding the circle made around the bomb.
At one point, someone suggested they pray, which they did individually. Then, they decided they should also pray as a group. According to Kamron, these prayers were very upsetting to David Young.
They were kept in the room for a couple of hours, while their parents gathered outside the school, waiting, desperately waiting.
|(Filming the scene with the parents waiting outside the school.|
Many of the parents were played by actual survivors.)
The miracle part of this story started happening just before the bomb went off. Several of the children say that they saw angels in the room. Some saw them dressed in white, others saw them in regular clothes. Right before the explosion, one of the children saw a group of angels surrounding the bomb. While it was designed to explode out, instead the bomb exploded straight up, and the child saw the angels go up with the blast. The force of the detonation threw Kamron out the door and many of the children were injured. But, the only casualties were David and Doris Young. Everyone else survived. (You can read the account on WyoHistory.org.)
Kamron told us that he didn't see angels himself, but he doesn't doubt the miracles of that day. In the book, Witness to Miracles, he said, "“I didn’t have to see angels, hear them, or even think that their presence might be required that day. I did not have to imagine how God would move … that day when I said my little prayer just hours before, I simply knew he would. He did deliver our salvation that day. That much I know. I’m living proof.”
I learned as I talked to the crew that this movie, which will come out in early 2015, has already touched many people. The resilience of the survivors and their families is proof that, with faith, we can overcome the trials in our lives. Their story is also proof that we are watched over by a loving Father in Heaven and that He does, indeed, provide miracles.